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In early December at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, two anxious scientists were about to send 20 years of research into orbit.

“I feel like our heart and soul is going up in that thing,” Dr. Emily Germain-Lee told her husband, Dr. Se-Jin Lee, as they waited arm-in-arm for a SpaceX rocket to launch.

A few seconds later the spacecraft took off, transporting some very unusual mice to the International Space Station, where they would spend more than a month in near zero gravity.

Ordinarily, that would cause the animals’ bones to weaken and their muscles to atrophy. But Lee and Germain-Lee, a power couple in the research world, were hoping that wouldn’t happen with these mice.

Read full article at NPR

A stroke appears to create a sticky situation inside the blood vessels of the brain that can worsen damage days, even months later, scientists report.

They have found that after stroke, exosomes — nanosized biological suitcases packed with an assortment of cargo that cells swap, like proteins and fats — traveling in the blood get activated and sticky and start accumulating on the lining of blood vessels, according to a collaborative study by the Medical College of Georgia and the University of Oxford.

Like a catastrophic freeway pileup, platelets, also tiny cells that enable our blood to clot after an injury, start adhering to the now- sticky exosomes, causing a buildup that can effectively form another clot, further obstruct blood flow to the brain and cause additional destruction, they report in the journal Scientific Reports.

Read full article at Science Daily

THE EXTERNAL PHENOMENA of aging are known to all of us. We can expect graying hair, bone loss, fatigue or memory difficulties.

But what actually happens to our brain as we get older, and what goes wrong when aging develops into a neurological disease like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s? This is a primary focus of neurological specialists around the world working to map the brain and unlock its many mysteries.

Previous animal studies have shown that molecular changes in the composition of lipids and proteins in brain cells affect brain function and may cause cognitive impairment. Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, scans allow us to look into the human brain in a non-invasive manner and learn about the changes that occur in it with age.

Read full article at US News

Senior housing occupancy increased 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 88.0 percent, according to new data from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC). San Jose (95.7%) and New York (91.3%) experienced the highest occupancy rates of the 31 metropolitan markets that comprise NIC’s Primary Markets. Atlanta (82.7%) and Houston (82.5%) recorded the lowest. Las Vegas experienced the largest occupancy increase from a year ago, rising from 80.3 percent to 84.1 percent. Cincinnati saw the largest year-over-year decrease, falling from 89.7 percent to 86.4 percent.

In a breakout of senior housing types, assisted living occupancy increased to 85.7 percent in the fourth quarter, from a recent record low of 85.1 percent earlier in the year as demand outpaced new inventory growth. The occupancy rate for independent living decreased to 90.0 percent in the fourth quarter, below its recent peak of 90.4 percent in the first quarter of 2019 and down from 90.3 percent one year earlier.

“It appears that 2019 was an inflection year for assisted living with the occupancy rate at its highest level in two years after having reached its trough and new construction continuing to slow,” said Chuck Harry, head of research and analytics at NIC.

Full article at National Investment Center

Women who exercise throughout life may keep their muscle power as they age, a new study suggests.

For the study, researchers from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., examined muscle strength, power and the size and type of muscle fibers in the thighs of three groups of women.

Seven women in one group were over 70 and had exercised regularly for nearly 50 years. The second group had 10 women who averaged 25 years of age and also worked out regularly. The third group comprised 10 women over 70 who did not exercise regularly.

Full article at US News

Drinking tea at least three times a week is linked with a longer and healthier life, according to a study published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

“Habitual tea consumption is associated with lower risks of cardiovascular disease and all-cause death,” said first author Dr. Xinyan Wang, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, China. “The favourable health effects are the most robust for green tea and for long-term habitual tea drinkers.”

The analysis included 100,902 participants of the China-PAR project2 with no history of heart attack, stroke, or cancer. Participants were classified into two groups: habitual tea drinkers (three or more times a week) and never or non-habitual tea drinkers (less than three times a week) and followed-up for a median of 7.3 years.

Full article at Science Daily

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS might seem trite, especially as you age. But think again. When you look at them, resolutions are goals. And when you have goals, you have purpose.

Studies in the past have hinted at the benefit of purpose for older adults. But a study published in 2019 actually shows that having purpose may extend your life.

Data from 7,000 Americans ages 51 and 61 explored the relationship between mortality and purpose. Purpose was defined as “a self-organizing life aim that stimulates goals.”

Full article at US News

Osteoporosis affects millions of people around the world, and it is not possible to change some of the primary risk factors, such as aging. However, more and more environmental risk factors are coming to light, and air pollution appears to be one of them.

Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by impaired bone density, which causes them to become brittle and fragile.

This condition tends to affect older individuals, particularly females, but some environmental factors — such as a lack of vitamin D — can also contribute to its development.

Full article at Medical News Today

Picture this – you suffer a car accident and your leg is broken. Within moments a small chip-like silicone device is placed on the broken leg – it reprograms the skin cells beneath and treats the injury – in a matter of seconds.

Sounds like the stuff of science fiction, right? Nope. This is real-life, folks!

A new non-invasive technology – Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT) – has been developed by researchers at Ohio State University to reprogram and grow skin cells directly on the body. The device delivers genes to skin cells by passing a strong electrical current through the chip and transforming the cells. 

In lab studies on mice, the tiny device has successfully reprogrammed and grown cells – healing injured parts of the body – from broken bones to brain damage. 

Full article at Nurse.org

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS might seem trite, especially as you age. But think again. When you look at them, resolutions are goals. And when you have goals, you have purpose.

Studies in the past have hinted at the benefit of purpose for older adults. But a study published in 2019 actually shows that having purpose may extend your life.

Data from 7,000 Americans ages 51 and 61 explored the relationship between mortality and purpose. Purpose was defined as “a self-organizing life aim that stimulates goals.”

People without strong purpose were more than twice as likely to die during the study period, regardless of income, gender, race or education. Purpose, it seems, is better at attaining longevity than reducing drinking, stopping smoking and conversely, even better than exercising regularly.

Full article at US News